Sebring WEC: Toyota under lap record again in FP1

Gary Watkins

The Japanese driver posted a 1m41.957s with only a couple of minutes left on the clock of the 90-minute session aboard the #8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid to better the 1m42.506s set by Jose Maria Lopez in the sister #7 car early on. 

That was slower than the best time set by Mike Conway in pre-event testing last weekend but still comfortably faster than Marcel Fassler's Sebring 12 Hours qualifying record from 2013.

Lopez and Sebastien Buemi did the lion's share of the running in the two Toyotas after missing last weekend's test because they were on Formula E duty in Hong Kong. 

The two Rebellion R-13s ended up third and fourth in the times. 

Gustavo Menezes initially led the chase of the Toyotas with a 1m43.664s in the team's #3 entry, before Andre Lotterer's replacement in the #1, Mathias Beche, bettered it with a 1m43.552s with 20 minutes remaining. 

SMP Racing took fifth and sixth in the times with its pair of BR Engineering BR1s, team newcomer Brendon Hartley leading the way with a 1m43.483s.

Racing Team Nederland's Dallara P217 was quickest in LMP2 courtesy of a 1m47.835s from Nyck de Vries. 

The lap put him half a second up on Andre Negrao's 1m48.346s time in the Signatech Alpine Oreca 07 - giving Michelin a one-two after Signatech's winter switch from Dunlop tyres.

Matthieu Vaxiviere was third fastest in the TDS Racing Oreca on Dunlops with a 1m48.786s. 

Maxime Martin set the pace for Aston Martin in the GTE Pro class. 

The Belgian posted a 1m58.044s in his Aston Martin Vantage GTE to go faster than Harry Tincknell's 1m58.356s set aboard the best of the Ganassi Ford GTs early in the session. 

The two factory Porsche 911 RSRs ended up third and fourth fastest in the hands of Richard Lietz and Kevin Estre respectively. 

Lietz's 1m58.577s was less than two hundredths quicker than Estre managed in the sister car.

Marco Sorensen took fifth in the second Aston ahead of Ford's Stefan Mucke and the two MTEK-run BMW M8 GTEs. 

Pedro Lamy was fastest in GTE Am for Aston Martin with a time just nine thousandths quicker than Dempsey-Proton Porsche driver Matteo Cairoli. 

The Project 1 GTE Am team took delivery this morning of a new Porsche 911 RSR to replace the car seriously damaged by fire in the test, but did not take to the track in FP1. 

A red flag was thrown with a little over half an hour remaining, ostensibly for a crash involving Dempsey-Proton driver Gianluca Roda.

However, it turned out Roda had not crashed but had requested medical assistance from the car after an off-track moment, leading race control to stop the session unnecessarily.

Practice times:

Pos. # Drivers Car Class Time Gap
1 8 Spain Sébastien Buemi  Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1 1'41.957  
2 7 Japan Jose Maria Lopez  Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1 1'42.506 0.549
3 1 Brazil Mathias Beche  Rebellion R13 LMP1 1'43.552 1.595
4 3 France Gustavo Menezes  Rebellion R13 LMP1 1'43.664 1.707
5 11 Russian Federation Mikhail Aleshin  BR Engineering BR1 LMP1 1'43.843 1.886
6 17 Russian Federation Egor Orudzhev  BR Engineering BR1 LMP1 1'44.300 2.343
7 10 Sweden Ben Hanley  BR Engineering BR1 LMP1 1'45.965 4.008
8 29 Netherlands Frits van Eerd  Dallara P217 LMP2 1'47.835 5.878
9 36 France Andre Negrao  Alpine A470 LMP2 1'48.346 6.389
10 28 France Matthieu Vaxiviere  Oreca 07 LMP2 1'48.786 6.829
11 37 United Kingdom Jordan King  Oreca 07 LMP2 1'49.374 7.417
12 38 China Gabriel Aubry  Oreca 07 LMP2 1'49.506 7.549
13 31 United Kingdom Roberto Gonzalez  Oreca 07 LMP2 1'49.625 7.668
14 50 United States Erwin Creed  Ligier JSP 217 LMP2 1'51.844 9.887
15 97 Belgium Alex Lynn  Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE PRO 1'58.044 16.087
16 67 United Kingdom Andy Priaulx  Ford GT LMGTE PRO 1'58.356 16.399
17 91 Italy Richard Lietz  Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE PRO 1'58.577 16.620
18 92 Denmark Kevin Estre  Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE PRO 1'58.594 16.637
19 95 Denmark Darren Turner  Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE PRO 1'58.631 16.674
20 66 Germany Billy Johnson  Ford GT LMGTE PRO 1'58.682 16.725
21 82 Portugal Augusto Farfus  BMW M8 GTE LMGTE PRO 1'58.757 16.800
22 81 Netherlands Alexander Sims  BMW M8 GTE LMGTE PRO 1'58.823 16.866
23 51 United Kingdom Daniel Serra  Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE PRO 1'58.823 16.866
24 63 Denmark Mike Rockenfeller  Chevrolet Corvette C7R LMGTE PRO 1'58.937 16.980
25 71 United Kingdom Miguel Molina  Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE PRO 1'59.448 17.491
26 98 Portugal Mathias Lauda  Aston Martin Vantage LMGTE AM 2'00.043 18.086
27 88 Italy Giorgio Roda  Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 2'00.052 18.095
28 77 Germany Julien Andlauer  Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 2'00.079 18.122
29 61 Ireland Luis Perez Companc Ferrari 488 GTE LMGTE AM 2'00.082 18.125
30 90 United Kingdom Charles Eastwood  Aston Martin Vantage LMGTE AM 2'00.088 18.131
31 54 Italy Thomas Flohr  Ferrari 488 GTE LMGTE AM 2'00.256 18.299
32 70 Monaco Motoaki Ishikawa  Ferrari 488 GTE LMGTE AM 2'00.314 18.357
33 86 United Kingdom Thomas Preining  Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 2'00.702 18.745